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State workers would pay fee for smoking

Published On: May 20 2013 03:23:05 PM CDT
cigarettes in ash tray smoking

FreeImages.com/Vivek Chugh

MADISON,Wis. -

State workers who smoke would see an increase for health insurance under Governor Scott Walker's new proposal. 

The proposal imposes a $50 fee each month for public employees that smoke. The proposal does not say how employees would be identified as tobacco users.

The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates that the fee will generate nearly $6 million over the next two years. Walker's administration said the fee is necessary because it estimates health care costs for tobacco users are 35 percent higher than non-smokers.

Currently, twelve other states impose similar fees.Some anti-smoking groups like the American cancer society oppose them because they argue they are not effective in reducing tobacco use.

the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee is expected to take up the proposal on Tuesday.

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